VANCOUVER Wash. (KPTV) – City hall was a packed house Saturday morning, full of Vancouver community members eager to comment on Safe Stay’s latest proposed site.
There are already two Safe Stay communities in Vancouver, one on Northeast 51st Circle and one on East Fourth Plain Boulevard.
The third proposed site is downtown on West 11th Street, and for at least a month, business owners and neighbors have been voicing their concerns. At Saturday’s meeting, several people asked if there were other possible locations and if they would see more encampments downtown, which they said they deal with daily.
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The city said camping is not allowed within 1,000 feet of these safe-stay communities and that its Homeless Assistance and Resource Team still enforces that rule, as they do at the other two locations .
Tom Phelan owns property half a block from the proposed downtown and said while he wants the homeless community to get the help they need, he doesn’t think the location is in the city’s best interest.
“I’m concerned about the safety of the people there,” Phelan said. “I’m also concerned about the aesthetics and the effect it will have on what I perceive to be an up-and-coming downtown area that I’ve seen evolve over 40 years from a really not-so-good place to a place where people want to come , live, hang out”.
RELATED: The City of Vancouver shares a 6-month progress report for the first Safe Stay Community
Linda Glover, who has run a business on Main Street for 20 years, said the location makes sense because it’s where much of the homeless population lives.
“They choose to live downtown like I choose to have a business downtown and we have to respect that,” Glover said. “They’re here and instead of having them camped out in different corners and being moved and shunned or yelled at, I really think it’s wise for the city to give them a place where they can go and feel safe, where they can be. connected to services where they can take the next steps to become a self-sufficient citizen.”
The next online listening session will be on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Click here for more information and the Zoom link.
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